Everyone loves to pick a longshot or tout a longshot, but when is the time to actually bet on the longshot? I would base a longshot on the price of the horse that it will pay when he wins. A longshot is not a horse with a morning line of 10-1 that goes off at 2-1. Clearly the line maker made an error and I wouldn’t consider that a longshot.
Finding a longshot can start with the expected favorite in the race. We know the favorites win around 30% of the time and sometimes you look at the favorite and need to realize the is very little chance he gets beat.
Here are times to try and beat the horse:
-horse is trying something different, stretching out, going on turf, off track
-off a month or longer and no activity, workout.
-dropping in class off a good effort, example a second place finish in a higher maiden race.
-race shape is against him, example a need the lead horse with lots of other speed in the race.
Another time to use a horse as a longshot is when a horse in question has the potential to improve:
-only one start.
-troubled trip that affected his outcome.
-trying something new that there is a sign that it could be successful, trainer angles
-race shape sets up for him, lone speed or closer with lots of other speed in the race.
You may ask yourself, how can in both the above situations have the same situation and one you bet the horse and the other you do not bet the horse. It is simple; it is all about value compared to the horses’ chance to win. A horse that is at 20-1 but has enough angles to take a shot, then you only need to hit these types a few times to be profitable. A horse at 1-1 but only has about a 30% chance to win, then in the long run you lose betting these types.
Understanding when a longshot can win and when the favorite is going to win really helps you out as to when to take a shot. Taking a longshot in every race and saying you never bet favorites instantly reduces your chance to make money at the races. Accept favorites do win, but when you find a chance to beat one, be ready and make it count.